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Rey Manaj, Matheus Pereira and Santi Ramos joined FC Barcelona B during the winter transfer window, and the first months of adaptation either at FC Barcelona or any other club is never an easy task. Even more so if it comes in the middle of the season. Ludovit Reis' situation is different in that he joined Barça B at the beginning of the campaign and his adaptation to the team was a little further along.
Ludovit Reis played 22 games before the suspension of the season, 14 as a starter. The Dutch midfielder traveled to Amsterdam when confinement began: “I traveled to Niewuw Venne to be closer to my family and spend time with my parents and my brothers (he has a twin brother, an older brother and a younger sister),” he explained. “Although I've been in the Netherlands, I have followed the work schedules that have been sent to me from the team. In the morning I train before breakfast, then I eat and rest, and in the afternoon I start exercising once more. I really want to train again and prepare well to fight for the play-off promotion to the Segunda División A. I am very excited. "
Although Reis has continued with the physical preparation, he's also had some downtime: “I have watched many series, and the one I loved the most was Peaky Blinders,” he said. He's also passionate about video games and has made time for reading. "Now I'm reading 'Heart of a Lion' which is the biography of Lyon's Memphis Depay."
When he has time, he will also take the opportunity to go out for a walk with Blue, the family dog.
"I really want to train again and prepare well to fight for the playoff for promotion to the Segunda División A. I am very excited"“ Ludovit Reis
Rey Manaj, meanwhile, has started six games with Barça B, including the one when he scored an important goal to beat El Prat (1 -2). The Albanian striker joined from Albacete and has spent confinement in Barcelona: “I have been with my family. At least I haven't been alone. I have been with my parents, my grandmother and our dog - his name is Budino and he is a Labrador,” Manaj explained.
“Confinement has been weird because we have never experienced anything like it. We've never been locked up at home for two months and as a footballer, gong two months without touching a ball is very difficult. Now we can go running on the street and although we're not all together yet, we're doing well to improve our physical condition and also to clear our minds."
Manaj has passed the time in confinement like most of his team-mates, following training routines both in the morning and in the afternoon. "I have also taken good care of my nutrition, although one day I ate a typical Albanian dish called Sultjash, which is hot rice pudding," he said.
The Albanian has had time to play traditional games like dominoes and cards with his family, although he is also passionate about watching Prison Break, Vis a Vis and Miracle in the cell 7, among others. He too has been reading books: “Now I am reading Secrets which is motivational, and in these difficult times it has helped me a lot.
"In fact, I really like reading because of the details and it serves to clear the mind," Manaj noted.
Keeping an eye on the health situation in Albania, the country where his grandmothers and cousins live, has been important. “They are calmer. There are very few cases and they live normal lives. There has been confinement, but more as a precaution,” Manaj calmly explained, noting that he has been staying with his aunt who lives in Italy, specifically, in Codogno, the city where the first Covid-19 outbreak was found. “Luckily she is in good health, but she has had some very difficult months. Confinement has been very hard, although little by little, things are calming down.”
“Luckily my aunt is in good health, but she has had a very difficult few months in Codogno. The confinement has been very hard, although little by little, things are calming down.”“ Rey Manaj (on his aunt confined in Codogno - Italy)
Regarding a return to training for the preparation of the play-offs, Manaj is very excited: “A promotion is always a promotion and I'm even more excited to have the opportunity to do it with Barça. We will prepare with caution. We must be aware that this virus is not yet gone and we have to be cautious and wait for them to find the vaccine. We're very excited to be able to train again, and will prepare well in order to try to win promotion.
“Before Covid-19 arrived, I felt better and better on the team. It's never easy to change teams in January, you have to meet new team-mates and get used to new dynamics, but I did it thinking that it was the best thing for my future and I was happy. Playing without a crowd will be strange because it isn't the same to play without supporters, but we'll have to be very strong mentally to win the three play-off games.”
"Playing without a crowd will be strange because playing without fans isn't the same, but we'll have to be very mentally strong to win the three play-off games.”“ Rey Manaj
“In recent days, I have had contact with the Albanian national team players and with the coach. We all have the same feeling, that hopefully we can meet again and be able to play the games to prepare for the World Cup,” Manaj concluded.
Although Ludovit Reis and Rey Manaj know what it's like to play with the team, Matheus Pereira and Santi Ramos haven't been able to yet, although both have maintained their training regimes at home.
“I like to do the exercises in the morning after breakfast, so I can spend the afternoon talking to my family who are in Brazil," Pereira explained.
“The situation in Brazil isn't a good thing. I have my mother, my sister and my grandparents there, and many friends tell me that there are people who aren't following the rules of confinement, meaning the situation is serious. I suffer because I'm a long way away, although luckily my family is in good health.”
Pereira has taken advantage of confinement to spend more time with his girlfriend, with whom he is spending quarantine at his home near the Ciutat Esportiva. He'll go out for a walk during the hours allowed, whilst also taking advantage of leisure time to watch series such as The Last Dance, La Casa de Papel and The Walking Dead, or to play and read books.
“The situation in Brazil isn't good. I have my mother, my sister and my grandparents there, and my friends tell me that there are many people are not following the rules of confinement and therefore the situation is serious. Luckily, my family is in good health."“ Matheus Pereira
"I've been very careful with nutrition and have eaten quite a few Brazilian dishes such as Picanha, Feijoada and Lasanha," said Pereira, who is already looking forward to returning to training. "I was feeling very good in training before Covid-19. For me, playing at Barça was a dream since I was little and I really want to debut in the Barça shirt.
"I hope I can help the team in this play-off and that we can go up to the Segunda A," Pereira concluded.
Santiago Ramos hasn't been able to play a minute so far due to bureaucratic issues. The Argentine central defender has spent confinement together with his two brothers in their apartment located near the Ciutat Esportiva.
“I have applied a routine to be fully prepared for when we return. I am a person who likes to get up early, around eight in the morning, I have breakfast and I do the physical work that the trainer sends us,” Ramos revealed. Preparing himself for strength routines in the afternoon, a mate is important and needed.
Despite the distance, the Argentine has been very aware of his family, located in Córdoba, his hometown: “I always find a time of day to be able to contact my family. My parents are there and we share how the situation is. There in Córdoba things have worsened, so they have reversed the phases and have had to return to a tougher quarantine. They can't even go out for a walk, and obviously, football has also stopped. Luckily, my family is in good health."
“Joining Barça has been a dream for me. My team-mates have helped me from the first day to adapt and the feeling of being in a club like this is incredible."“ Santi Ramos
The Argentine has spent his downtime watching series such as The Last Dance, Game of Knights, A Contratiempo and Vivir sin permission, while he too has also played games and read books. “I'm reading Dan Millman's 'Pacific Warrior' and before that I finished 'The Sport that unites us' by Humberto Salermo. Reading is something I am passionate about because it brings me many things. It gives me knowledge and it's essential to learn and relax. I've also signed up for online English classes,” Ramos acknowledged.
“Joining Barça has been a dream for me. My team-mates have helped me to adapt from the first day, and the feeling of being in a club like this is incredible. I want to step onto the grass at the Ciutat Eseportiva to train again, and be prepared in case I'm given an option to help the team. If not, I'll support everyone as necessary.”
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